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      January 21, 2022

      4 Tipps From an SAP Specialist Embracing an International Team

      For Oi-Peng Continental is the perfect match, because here she is able to team up for projects in a truly international team to have an impact on future mobility.

      I joined Continental back in 2005 as Senior SAP Specialist supporting the Financial and Controlling team. My role was to provide SAP support to APAC regions with activities such as SAP rollout and implementation as well as IT service management.

      My first project at Continental was the implementation of SAP for Continental in Malaysia back in 2005.  It was a project lead by our colleagues from Germany and supported by SAP specialist in Malaysia. After completing the implementation, we started to rollout SAP into other APAC countries. Since then, I have been involved in SAP implementation projects for more than 8 locations and more than 12 projects in the APAC region and observing and learning a lot from the project managers until I became a project manager myself in 2012.

      The encouragement from my supervisor, as well as all my observations and learnings, gave me the confidence to take over the project manager role. My responsibilities further increased, and I took over the role as Regional Lead of Competence Center Sales, Logistics and Finance in 2011 and I’m now heading the IT Service Center in the APAC region which consists of 5 regional competence centers with 60 people at our main location in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

      Being part of the Continental IT team never gets boring especially when you are part of the project members. Since Continental is an international company, it is common to form a project team with member originate from different countries.  We started to know each other better by conquering the challenges together. We laughed together and shared the culture shock experiences in the country that we never been to.    We worked hard during office hours and share our leisure time together after works.

      My most interesting project

      The most interesting project that I managed so far was the SAP S/4Hana (an intelligent enterprise resource planning solution) implementation for mycar, Australia, a new trade company that was acquired by Continental in 2018. Unlike the Continental Tires standard SAP global rollout projects where a template is available, this project contained some challenging elements which I had no experience with before. It was the first SAP S/4 Hana implemented in Continental Tires. This project required understanding and learning new technologies and business processes, collaborating with team members across 5 countries and extensive alignments between different management levels.

      All these challenges made this project very special and interesting for me, as I had to step out of my comfort zone, learn new technics and develop further skills to manage the project. 

      What I love about my job

      One of the factors motivating me each day is working in truly international team. Embracing cultural differences by applying different communication and management skills according to the team members’ working culture is not the easiest task, but definitely worth every second. For one another, we build trust among the team members. And we earn trust from the local business team members and get better together each day.

      I also would like to share 4 learnings managing an international team:

      • Have a team member in the project, who has deep understanding of the local culture and business culture.  This local team member should play a role to bridge the gaps between central support teams and local business team.
      • In case of a conflict within the local team, it is more effective to let the local team lead to resolve the conflict among themselves, rather than to intervene as a "foreigner".
      • Be sensitive about the working hours and time zone of your team members. Respect their resting time and their right to accept or reject requests to work outside their normal business hours.
      • Collect dates of all team members' bank holidays and festival sessions, which will happen during the project.

      It is very satisfying to work together on common goals and targets. The passion, commitment, support and trust given by all team members makes my life as project manager full of joy and satisfaction on every milestone that we achieve together. 

      Oi - Peng Yap

      IT Manager CC Sales, Logistics and Finance

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